Accident claims regional sailing leader

Published on June 16th, 2020

The man who died at Dillon Yacht Club’s Peak 1 Regatta has been identified as 66-year-old Paul Kresge (above) of Dillon, CO according to the Summit County Coroner’s Office. The event was held June 13-14 on Dillon Reservoir in Dillon, CO.

At about 2:30 pm on June 13, the Summit Daily reports how a strong storm cell blew in from the southwest, producing winds upwards of 40 mph along with 4-foot waves, according to a release from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

Kresge and his crew Steve Ragle were traveling downwind toward the Dillon Marina when they jibed their 22-foot Star, and according to the Star Class, Kresge was hit in the head during the jibe, knocked off the boat unconscious, and sank as he was not wearing a life vest.

The storm caused “multiple boats to capsize,” according to the Sheriff’s Office, but Kresge’s craft remained upright. The other crew member was able to drop the sails and get the boat into the Snake River Inlet, where he was rescued and towed to the Dillon Marina.

According to individuals at the marina, the weather in the area quickly intensified before settling down. “It went from a cloudy day, to craziness,” said Elaine Collins, who was out on a boat photographing the regatta. “And 15 minutes later, there were blue skies.”

After Kresge fell into the water, the boat collided with a race committee boat that was moored to a buoy. The accident took place just west of the Snake River Arm of the reservoir, and other boats in the area immediately began searching for Kresge.

Teams with the Sheriff’s Office, Summit County Rescue Group, Summit County Water Rescue, Dillon Police Department, Dillon and Frisco marinas, Dillon Yacht Club, Flight for Life, Summit Water Taxi and local fishing guides all took part in the search.

Rescue workers called off the search late on June 13 and resumed early the next day. Kresge’s body was successfully located about 180 feet under the surface at around 3:30 pm on June 14 using a VideoRay underwater remote operating vehicle.

The manner of death was accidental, and the cause was ruled drowning, according to Coroner Regan Wood.

Kresge was a member of the Dillon Yacht Club and served as the group’s commodore from 2010-2011. He was also active in the Star Class as Assistant District Secretary for District 21 – the Rocky Mountain area, as well as a US Sailing Judge and a regional sailing leader.

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